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Non Violent Communication, By Marshall Rosenberg (Book Review)

Reviewed by: Chelsea Hauer.

Marshall Rosenberg, was a moving American author that changed the lives of many as a dedicated teacher, peacemaker, and visionary leader. He was raised in Detroit and later completed his undergraduate at the University of Michigan. Marshall then received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Wisconsin in 1961.

“What I want in my life is compassion, a flow between myself and others based on a mutual giving from the heart.” -Marshall RosenbergIn his book, Non-violent Communication (NVC), Marshall “helps people to exchange the information necessary to resolve conflicts and differences peacefully.” Speaking and listening from a place of compassion and the heart while learning to hear the deeper needs within ourselves and others, thus enriching the lives of ourselves and others. After reading NVC you are able to empower yourself to facilitate real connections to ones self and others.

Before I read NVC, I was speaking from a place of domination, just as I was taught growing up. I was very open to reading this recommended book as I was yearning for a new way to communicate. In the past, I was often looking at things as either right or wrong, good or bad, and looking only outside myself.   My conversations were not producing good results.

Prior to reading NVC, I was speaking from a place of domination as I had observed growing up. I was open to reading this recommended book as I was yearning for a new way to communicate. In the past, when I was looking at things as either right or wrong/good or bad, and looking only outside myself, my conversations were not producing good results. In NVC, I learned I could shed these old habits and build upon new ones. I know words can be powerful and I wanted my words to come from a place of positivity. Words no longer had to lead to hurt and pain, I no longer had to make demands and could now practice requests. A new way of communicating was to be learned!

I soon cultivated the ability to listen to my feelings, express my needs, and accept answers that I didn’t want to hear. I learned I have options on how I receive information, no longer taking things so personally. I also have options on how I respond to others. By learning to connect to my feelings with what I observe, using ”I feel” statements, and listening for the underlying needs of others, today I am now capable of having more meaningful conversations in my life.

I like to consider this book an active workbook that I keep on my shelf to peer into from time to time, as I sometimes forget the four components of NVC: Observations, feelings, needs, and requests. First observing what is actually happening, identifying how I feel about what I just observed, detailing what needs of mine are in conjunction or in line with the feelings I just identified and followed by action, a request. An example provided in the book states, “Would you be willing to put your socks in your room or in the washing machine?”

I would highly recommend the book for anyone that wants to learn more about themselves, flourish and grow in their relationships, both interpersonally and professionally, while sharpening their skills in authentically connecting to others.

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